1/ The New York judge presiding over Trump’s hush money criminal trial imposed a gag order barring Trump from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, and jurors. Trump’s history of “prior extrajudicial statements establishes a sufficient risk to the administration of justice,” Justice Juan Merchan ruled, adding “there exists no less restrictive means to prevent such risk.” Merchan called Trump’s past attacks “threatening, inflammatory,” and “denigrating,” and said similar attacks would “undoubtedly risk impeding the orderly administration of the Court.” Trump is also barred from commenting about lawyers in the case, court staff, employees in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and their family members if those statements are made with the “intent to materially interfere” with the case. The order, however, doesn’t apply to Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The trial begins with jury selection on April 15 – the first of Trump’s four criminal cases to go to trial. It will also mark the first criminal prosecution of a former American president. (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / Associated Press / Bloomberg / CNBC)

2/ The Supreme Court appeared likely to preserve access to the abortion pill mifepristone, which is used in over 60% of U.S. abortions. The court heard oral arguments on the Biden administration’s appeal of lower court rulings, which restricted access to the pill, including its availability by mail. During arguments, there was little discussion about whether the FDA’s decisions to lift restrictions on the drug were unlawful, but instead the justices focused on whether the the group of anti-abortion doctors who brought the lawsuit even had legal standing to bring the claim. The case is the first abortion-related hearing since the court reversed Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court has never restricted access to an approved drug by overriding the FDA’s conclusions about safety. A decision is expected by July. (Associated Press / Washington Post / NPR / Politico / NBC News / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)

  • 🔍 What’s at stake? Access to mifepristone directly affects women’s healthcare choices and autonomy over their bodies. If access is restricted, it could lead to increased use of surgical abortions or unapproved, more complicated medical procedures. The case also tests the FDA’s authority and could set a precedent that challenges the FDA’s ability to make independent, science-based decisions on drug safety and efficacy.

3/ NBC News is expected to drop former Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel as a paid contributor after NBC and MSNBC anchors criticized the network on its own airwaves. McDaniel was hired after resigning from her RNC post following Trump’s pressure campaign to force her out. Following the 2020 election, McDaniel endorsed Trump’s baseless, false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. She also participated in a call with Trump in which he pressured Wayne County canvassing officials to not certify the election results. Rachel Maddow – the biggest star and highest-rated anchor at MSNBC – opened her show with a 29-minute monologue that called McDaniel’s hiring “inexplicable,” and describing McDaniel as “someone who hasn’t just attacked us as journalists, but someone who is part of an ongoing project to get rid of our system of government. Someone who still is trying to convince Americans that this election stuff, it doesn’t really work.” Chuck Todd added that McDaniel “has credibility issues that she still has to deal with.” And Nicolle Wallace, meanwhile, accused NBC News of “wittingly or unwittingly” signaling to “election deniers” that they could spread falsehoods “as one of us, as badge-carrying employees of NBC News, as paid contributors to our sacred airwaves.” McDaniel, meanwhile, is exploring legal options if NBC terminates her contributor deal. (Variety / New York Post / Washington Post / New York Times / Axios / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)